01 Planning Your Visit? FAQ and Road Conditions Info

To help you prepare for your trip, we have gathered a list of frequently asked questions that might be useful when you are planning your trip!

Index

  1. Access and Transport
  2. Payment Methods and Currency Exchange
  3. Other Sightseeing Tips
  4. Climate and clothing in the Oki Islands
  5. Road Conditions Information

Access and Transport

What is the best way to access the Oki Islands?

The islands can be accessed by air or sea. For detailed information, visit our “Access to the Oki Islands” page. Travel by sea to the islands is serviced by the Oki Kisen Ferry Line. Ferries depart from Shichirui Port in Shimane Prefecture, and Sakaiminato Port in Tottori Prefecture. You can access both ports by public buses departing from Matsue Station or Sakaiminato Station. Sakaiminato Port can also be accessed via JR train. The ferry ride is around 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on your destination. For detailed information, visit the Oki Kisen Ferry Line English SiteThis will open in a new tab. . Travel by air to the islands is serviced by Japan Airlines (JAL). Oki Airport is the only airport in the Oki Islands, and it is located in Okinoshima Town. There are direct flights from Osaka Itami Airport and Izumo Airport (Shimane Prefecture).

Where can I find the ferry timetable?

Please refer to the Oki Kisen Ferry Line WebsiteThis will open in a new tab. for detailed information and timetables in English.

Do I have to book the ferry tickets?

1) Ferry: You cannot make a booking for a Standard 2nd class ticket. Bookings can be made for groups of more than 15 persons and for travellers who wish to sit in Special 2nd class or higher. Furthermore, you need to make a booking if you want to transport your car by the ferry.

2) Fast ferry Rainbow Jet: Booking a seat in advance is strongly recommended, as the fast ferry tends to get fully booked especially during the tourism season and weekends. You can make the booking by phone 08512-2-1122 (Japanese language only) or through their Japanese website (https://www.oki-kisen.net/reserve-rainbow/users/sign_inThis will open in a new tab. ). Creating an account is necessary to make the booking through the website.

How do I take my car on the ferry?

 1) Take your car on one of the big ferries (ferry Oki, ferry Kuniga, ferry Shirashima):
Bookings are necessary to Take your car on the ferry. Please get in touch with Oki Kisen Ferry Line by phone (08512-2-1122) or contact us through the inquiry form. Check out our post “Travelling to the Oki Islands with Your Vehicle” for a detailed description of the process. For more information, check the ‘Oki Kisen Vehicle Fares’ section on the Oki Kisen Ferry Line English SiteThis will open in a new tab. .

2) Boarding your car on the inter-island ferry Dōzen (ferry connecting Ama Town, Nishinoshima Town and Chibu Village):
Bookings are not necessary but you need to purchase a ticket at the inter-island ferry ticket window.

How will I know if the ferry got cancelled?

Service updates are available on the website of Oki Kisen Ferry Line, and updates are released daily at 6:30 AM. However, if the weather conditions are especially bad, crossings might get cancelled during the day, too. Please regularly check Oki Kisen Ferry Line’s website on days of extreme weather. Asking at your accommodation will be a good idea, too.

Payment Methods and Currency Exchange

Can I pay with a credit card?

You can pay with a credit card for your ferry tickets at all ports except in Chibu Village (Chiburijima Island).

Some restaurants, hotels and other tourism facilities do not accept credit card payments. We recommend bringing cash or checking the information beforehand on our website.

Please note that you will be required to pay in cash at the local clinics, so make sure you have some cash on you in case of an emergency.

Where can I exchange money?

Currency exchange is only available at the local bank in Okinoshima Town (Dōgo Island). Please be aware that the local bank is a small branch. The process might take a longer time than you are used to and the staff might not know English. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND exchanging foreign currencies before coming to the Oki Islands.

Where can I withdraw money using my card issued abroad?

You can withdraw money using a card issued abroad only from ATMs of Japan Post Bank. The following cards can be used: cards bearing a Visa, Visa Electron, Visa Plus, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, JCB, UnionPay, or Discover logo.

The Japan Post Bank ATMs on the islands are NOT open 24/7, and many have shorter operation hours or are closed on weekends and public holidays. Please be aware that not all post offices have an ATM at their location.

Click the links below to see the ATM locations on each island on Google Maps.

Nishinoshima Town (Nishinoshima Island)
Beppu Post OfficeThis will open in a new tab. , Urago Post OfficeThis will open in a new tab.

Ama Town (Nakanoshima Island)
Hishiura Port OfficeThis will open in a new tab.

Chibu Village (Chiburijima Island)
Chibu Post OfficeThis will open in a new tab.

Okinoshima Town (Dōgo Island)
Saigo Post OfficeThis will open in a new tab. , Tsuma Post OfficeThis will open in a new tab. , Fuse Post OfficeThis will open in a new tab. , Goka Post OfficeThis will open in a new tab.

Other Sightseeing Tips

Where can I leave my luggage?

You can use the coin lockers or leave your luggage at the tourism offices on the islands. A small fee might apply depending on the tourism office. Locations of coin lockers are as follows:

Nishinoshima Island (Nishinoshima Town): Beppu Port Ferry Terminal, ground floor

Nakanoshima Island (Ama Town): Hishiura Port Ferry Terminal

Chiburijima Islands (Chibu Village): Kurii Port Ferry Terminal, 2nd floor (small size lockers)

Dogo Island (Okinoshima Town): Oki Islands Geopark Visitor Center, ground floor

How many days do I need to see the main sights?

To see all the islands and their main sights, you will need 4-5 days. Travelling between the islands might be confusing and making a perfect travel plan might feel overwhelming. Take a look at the sample itineraries for reference or send an inquiry to one of the local tourism associations.

What is the best season to visit the Oki Islands?

The best season to visit the islands is from spring through autumn. Although in recent years the winter weather is not as harsh, the islands experience strong winds and high waves from December to February. Please pay special attention to weather reports and watch out for the possibility of ferry cancellations if you are planning to visit during this period.

Moreover, please be aware that the period around the New Year (end of December, beginning of January) and Obon Festival (mid-August) is particularly busy due to many people coming back to the islands to visit their family home. Hotels and restaurants are either fully booked or even closed for business.

Do I need to book my accommodation/activities/rent-a-car in advance?

It is highly recommended, especially if you are planning to visit during the high season (April-September). Oki Islands are small, and we only have a limited number of facilities. You might find services and facilities fully booked if you wait until the last minute.

Are there any guides who speak foreign languages?

Yes! Check out their profiles here.

Is it safe to walk on trails that lead through pastures?

Cows and horses are usually calm animals, but it is important to leave plenty of space when walking past them. Move calmly and quietly, and walk around the herd if possible. Try to avoid getting between the cows and their calves, and horses and their foals. Do not walk behind a horse as it may kick if it feels frightened or threatened.

What is a Texas gate (cattle grid)?

Texas gates are installed at the entrance of the pasture to prevent the entry and exit of cattle and horses. Please drive slowly when crossing the Texas gates. Cyclists should alight from their bicycles and walk across the grid. If the tyre gets caught in the gap, it may cause a flat tire or a fall. Please be careful when crossing the gates.

How long does it take to get around the islands?

Please be aware that although the islands look small on the map, they are not small enough to walk everywhere. Make sure to check the distances between the sites you wish to visit and plan before venturing out.

Where can I buy souvenirs?

There are small souvenir shops in all ferry terminals on all islands. In Ama Town, there is a souvenir shop called Tsunakake near the Oki Shrine. In Nishinoshima Town and Okinoshima Town, there are other souvenir shops in the wider port area.

Are there supermarkets, convenience stores, or drug stores?

There are drug stores near the port in Okinoshima Town. While two supermarkets are about 10 minutes away by car. Generally, most shops close at 20:00 or 21:00, and only a few smaller shops are open until 22:00 or 23:00.

Nishinoshima Town also has a supermarket about 5 minutes from the port by car, as well as smaller shops. 

In Ama Town and Chibu Village, there are no supermarkets, just small shops.

What are the business hours for restaurants on the islands?

Most restaurants are open from 11:0013:30 for lunch and close from mid-afternoon until they re-open for dinner. Many restaurants only serve lunch. Please check the restaurants’ page information for more details.

Will shops, restaurants and accommodation facilities be closed during Obon Holidays and New Year’s?

Obon is an important holy period for Japanese people, so some facilities close to allow owners and employees to spend this time with their families. For this reason, it may be quite difficult to find accommodation during this period.

Many facilities, including small grocery stores, on the islands are closed during New Year’s. For this reason, New Year is not the most recommended period to visit the islands.

Where can I dispose of rubbish?

Please be aware that there are no rubbish bins at scenic spots and along the walking trails. Be prepared to take your rubbish back to your accommodation or dispose of it in the bins provided at tourism associations and ferry terminals.

We kindly ask for your cooperation in protecting the natural environment of the Oki Islands.

Can I use a drone to film on the islands?

The rules of the municipalities vary:

Nishinoshima Town: Prior application is required. Please submit the application form 2 weeks before your scheduled filming/photo shooting session on the island. The approved document should be kept with you when filming on the island. Please contact Nishinoshima Town (Tourism and Residency Division) at kanko-teiju@town.nishinoshima.shimane.jp for more details.

Chibu Village: Prior application is not required, but please do not film or take pictures of the residents and people’s houses without permission.

Please also bear in mind not to fly drones too close to horses, cattle, and wild animals, as the noise emitted from drones causes stress and might spook them.

Climate and clothing in the Oki Islands

The temperature gets relatively high in summer however it can become freezing during winter! The humidity is high all year round so it’s best to bring at least one jacket with you, even during summer. 

The UV rays are high in summer, so sunscreen is necessary. From autumn to spring we get lots of rainfall, so it’s a good idea to bring a raincoat or a pair of rain boots with you.

In winter, the weather here gets chilly a little earlier than on the mainland. We do get snow so you need to prepare warm clothing as the weather can be severe. Additionally, due to large waves, if you are prone to motion sickness, it is a good idea to keep motion sickness medicine with you.

Road Conditions Information

Some roads might be closed!

[Updated on 30 January 2024]
Some roads on the islands are closed due to damage caused by a typhoon and strong rainstorms in 2021. This article will be updated as new information comes to our attention, but make sure to inquire at the tourism offices for the latest information.

! Please check the map linked below before travelling around the Oki Islands.
! Please be careful while driving around the islands as some roads are not in their best condition.
! Before visiting the sightseeing spots, please visit the tourism office to ask for details.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to map with the below sites marked on it.)

Ama Town:
・Some local roads are closed, but the main sightseeing spots are accessible.

Okinoshima Town:
The below sites are closed:
・The road between Yui area and Nagu-saki Cape is currently closed due to fallen rocks. *Please note that Yui Pond can be accessed by road from the Saigo Port area.
・The road to Dangyo-no-taki Waterfalls will be closed from 11 September 2023 to March 2024.
・Candle Rock Lookout Point in Ojirobana Park (completely closed due to landslides)
・Noritabana Walking Trail (completely closed due to landslides)
・The boardwalk at Yui Pond is currently closed. The lookout point near the parking lot is open.

Click here to access the Google Map with sightseeing spots and roads that are currently not accessibleThis will open in a new tab. .

If you have any other questions, please contact the tourism association of each island.

We look forward to welcoming you.